10:15am PT by Lesley Goldberg
ABC's 'Dirty Dancing' Adds Billy Dee Williams
ABC's Dirty Dancing reboot is adding a dose of Star Wars to its cast.
The three-hour TV movie has enlisted Billy Dee Williams, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. He'll take on the role of the band leader, Tito, played by Charles Coles in the original film.
Jessica Sharzer (American Horror Story, The L Word) is writing and executive producing. Like the 1987 Patrick Swayze-Jennifer Grey starrer, it revolves around Baby (Abigail Breslin), an innocent young woman who vacations with her affluent parents at an early-1960s Catskill Mountains resort and gets swept off her feet by Johnny (Colt Prattes), a handsome, working-class dance instructor. Penny, for those who don't recall, is Johnny's dance partner and part of the entertainment staff at the resort. She and Johnny enlist Baby's help and teach her to dance. Debra Messing co-stars as Marjorie Houseman, Baby's mother. Modern Family's Sarah Hyland is set as Baby's sister, Lisa. And Nicole Scherzinger is taking on the role of Penny.
Williams' Tito is the charismatic, lively, longtime band leader for the resort. Tito oversees and advises the musicians and entertainers and must acquiesce to the changing times.
The movie is produced by Lionsgate TV and Allison Shearmur Productions (The Hunger Games), with Eleanor Bergstein — who penned the screenplay for the original movie — onboard as an executive producer. Grammy nominee Adam Anders and Peer Astrom (Glee) will tackle music for ABC's rendition. Anders and Judy Cairo (Crazy Heart) will produce. Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) will direct. Tony-winner Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton, Bring It On) will be responsible for choreography. Stephen Altman (Gosford Park) is set as production designer.
Williams' credits include Star Wars, Brian's Song and Batman. He's repped by TalentWorks.